1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
35 x 30 minute episodes
Originally hosted by the hairy cornflake himself, radio DJ Dave Lee Travis, Kick Start presented motorcycle Moto-X where 18 top international riders had to compete in a knockout contest of time trials, riding over man-made obstacles such as logs, oil drums, rockeries, water-filled skips, walls, steep banking, cliff-faces, a greasy pole – and often an old Volkswagen Beetle – against the clock.
Time penalties were incurred for putting a foot on the ground while tackling an obstacle or touching or knocking over specified parts of an obstacle.
The original BBC Birmingham series was filmed at a specially constructed course at Donington Park in Leicestershire. The location later moved to Easton Neston House on Lord Hesketh’s estate near Towcester in Northamptonshire.
The show was a huge success, regularly attracting over 10 million viewers per episode. Peter Purves took over as host in 1981.
A spin-off programme for young motorcyclists aged between 8 and 15 – called Junior Kick Start – was broadcast from 1980 to 1992, also hosted by Peter Purves and Mick Andrews.
Dave Lee Travis